Visa and permits for studying and working at USI

Administrative steps to be taken by foreign students

Foreign students must apply for a residence permit (see A) and register with the residence authority (see B)

A) Residence permit for foreign students
It is mandatory for foreign students to apply for a permit to reside in Switzerland under a student status.
Please notice that the residence permit for study purposes does not grant students automatic entitlement to paid employment. Therefore, international students regularly registered in an academic degree programme at a university in Switzerland need to obtain a specific authorisation from the competent offices before they start working. The maximum permitted work load is 15 hours per week. No such authorization, however, will be issued in the first 6 months of a student's stay.

A.1 Foreign students living in Italy
Any foreign citizen who lives across the border, in Italy, and returns home on a daily basis does not need to request a border commuter permit

A.2 Foreign students who already hold a B permit
Foreign nationals with an annual residence permit (B) are expected to request the appropriate changes. Foreign students with residence in another canton must request the consent of their current cantonal authority; alternatively they must apply to Ticino’s authorities for a change of canton
Form 1046:

A.3 Foreign students NOT bound by a visa requirement
Students must address their application to the Ufficio regionale degli stranieri of the town where the student wishes to live.
The candidate is free to live in Switzerland while awaiting the immigration authority’s decision ONLY upon submission of the application. 
To apply, please fill out Form 1046 using a typewriter or by writing in capital letters. You may download the form from the web site:

Following documents must be enclosed:
a) An official statement of the Università della Svizzera italiana; this document declares that the applicant has sufficient financial means to meet the costs of studying and living in this country, as well as adequate accommodation, and that he/she is aware that he/she must leave the country on completion of the study programme. b) Two passport-sized photographs;
c) A photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport;
d) A photocopy of the lease contract of the apartment or room in Ticino.
e) Certificate from the Judicial Records Register (granted within the last 3 months) issued by the competent authorities of the Country of origin of the applicant.
The certificate must be translated into Italian: kindly note that USI cannot provide translation of student's legal documents. Please  seek support from offical translation services.

Servizio regionale degli stranieri
Via Serafino Balestra 31-33
6900 Lugano
Phone: +41 91 815 54 81
Hours of service: Monday-Friday: 9 – 11.45am and 2 – 4pm

Servizio regionale degli stranieri
Via Pollini 29
6850 Mendrisio
Phone: +41 91 816 45 01
Hours of service: Monday-Friday: 9 – 11.45am and 2 – 4pm

A.4 Nationals bound by a visa requirement
Students who need a visa to enter Switzerland shall apply for authorization to the appropriate Swiss consular service ('Application for permission of entry into Switzerland' form).
Applicants shall be free to enter Switzerland only once their application has been processed. Please be aware that a tourist visa is only valid for 3 months and cannot be converted into a student permit after the arrival in Switzerland. Please be aware that the Visa request is the student’s responsibility and usually takes between one and four months time.

For further details, please contact or consult
Sezione della popolazione, Bellinzona
Phone: +41 91 814 32 09, e-mail:

B) Registration with the Residence authority
Students also must register with the Cantonal Residence authority.

Via della Posta
6900 Lugano
Phone: +41 58 866 60 00
Fax +41 58 866 60 09
Hours of service:
Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 7.30am - 12.00 noon and 1.30 - 5pm
Tuesday and Thursday: 7.30am - 6pm

Municipio (Townhall)
Via Municipio 13
6850 Mendrisio
Phone: +41 91 640 31 31
Hours of service: Monday-Friday: 10am – 12 noon and 2 – 4pm

USI Student Guide
This brochure provides practical information to make your staying at USI as pleasant as possibile. For any question please feel free to contact us.